by Dan Gilfillan

As gifted as he is pretentious, Adel Taarabt well and truly splits the footballing divide amongst fans, coaches and journalists alike. On one hand there is the ridiculously skilful, clinically accurate and superbly creative Moroccan who was dubbed upon joining Tottenham Hotspurs as ‘the next Zidane.’ On the other hand, however, is the petulant, egotistic and quite frankly deluded man-child who, after being linked with a transfer to Italian giants AC Milan, was said to have uttered “They’re no longer a part of the top clubs. However, if I joined Milan then it would open up the doors for me to great clubs like Real Madrid and Barca.”

Almost immediately after Taarabt’s PR reluctantly released their stropping client’s statement, Milan immediately pulled out of the deal for the 23 year old. Incensed that the QPR midfielder had referred to the seven-time champions of Europe as a stepping-stone onto bigger and better things, the Rossoneri wanted nothing to do with him. Sadly, this is too often the case with Moroccan.

I use the word ‘sadly’ because this would not matter if we were talking about, for instance, Taarabt’s team mate Shaun Derry, an unspectacular 35 year old on his way out of the game. This is a rather sad scenario because, on his day, Taraabt can be virtually unplayable. In the 2010-11 season, the Moroccan scored 19 goals in 40 starts, was voted Championship player of the year and almost single-handedly won the Hoops promotion into the Premiership.

Most Premier League fans will only have seen glimpses of Taarabt’s talent, for example when he gave what Harry Redknapp described as one of ‘the great all-time performances’ against QPR’s London rivals Fulham, scoring both of his side’s goals in a 2-1 win. Regrettably, these moments are few and far between from Taarabt.

With so much to give, it is depressing that Taarabt so rarely shows the desire to showcase his gifts. The vast majority of the time, he is a forlorn figure at Loftus Road, seeming to be waiting for a big club to come and whisk him away from his West London nightmare. His footballing ability is unanimously appreciated. His attitude, however, is not.